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Critical essay: Blinding faith – Paradoxes and pathologies of opacity in peer review

Willmott, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-1321-7041 (2022). Critical essay: Blinding faith – Paradoxes and pathologies of opacity in peer review. Human Relations, 75(9), pp. 1741-1769. doi: 10.1177/00187267211016752


The standing and progress of science depends upon confidence in the evaluation of knowledge claims. This essay affirms the value of peer review as a ‘gold standard’ but argues that its efficacy for scientific progress is, on balance, diminished by blinding. It reflects critically upon the anomaly between an ethos of openness that is widely held to define scientific work, and the opacity institutionalized in reviewing and editorial processes, with specific reference to the field of management and organization studies. The anomaly is attributed to the operation of asymmetrical relations of power in the establishment and reproduction of evaluation processes. The proposed means of mitigating the anomaly, and thereby improving manuscript evaluation, is movement in the direction of more open peer review.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( © The Author(s) 2021.
Publisher Keywords: anonymity, asymmetrical relations of power, blinding, confidentiality, editorial practice, ethical principles, evaluation processes, secrecy
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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